Hamid Nouri: Prison massacre of accused to testify in a historic trial in Sweden

A former Iranian official accused of crimes against humanity is expected to testify under oath for the first time on Tuesday in a landmark case in Stockholm.

Hamid Nouri, 60, is on trial for his alleged involvement in a prison massacre in Iran in 1988. He denies the charges.

The killings were allegedly an act of revenge ordered by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against members of the People’s Mujahedeen, who supported the 1979 revolution but then turned against the new leadership and fought for Iraq under Saddam Hussein, during the period of Iraqi-Iranian rule. war.

The order came a few days after the end of the 1980-1988 war.

Human rights groups say around 5,000 people have been killed in prisons across the country, but the opposition claims the number was six times that number.

In 2018, the United Nations designated the massacre a “crime against humanity”.

Nouri, who is accused of more than 100 serious murders and war crimes, is expected to give evidence allegedly implicating current Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

Nouri was arrested in Sweden in 2019 and is due to begin today at least three days of giving evidence, more than three months after the start of a trial that heard testimonies from victims who described how Nouri played a key role in lining up the pleading prisoners. From the names of those who are about to be hanged.

During the mass executions of the Iranian opposition group, Nouri was an assistant to the deputy prosecutor at Gohardasht Prison near Tehran.

During the trial, former prisoners of Gohardasht described how Nuri celebrated some of these executions by offering sweets to prison guards.

“He was carrying a box of pastries and gave sweets to the prison guards as they passed by,” a witness told the court.

However, Nuri claims that he was not working in the prison at the time of the murder.

Observers said the 60-year-old interrupted court sessions several times to complain about protesters outside the court demanding justice for senior members of the Iranian government over their alleged involvement in the mass executions.

The trial even had to move to Albania for a few weeks to hear evidence from seven witnesses unable to travel to Sweden.

Opposition groups said they would hold larger demonstrations outside the courtroom on November 23 when Nouri testified.

The trial is expected to end in April next year.

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